Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Baby Boomers Going Childless

Fifty years ago, having a big family might have been considered more of the norm than unusual. But for the baby boomer generation today, the trend is changing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of families with their own child living at home decreased to 46 percent in 2008, from 52 percent in 1950, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data gathered by the Census Bureau indicates the aging of the population and changing fertility patterns are the reasons for the decreases in the percentage of families with their own child under 18 at home.

In 1950, 52 percent of family households had their own child under 18. During the years when the baby boomers were young, this percentage increased, reaching 57 percent in the early 1960s. In 2008, however, when the baby boomers were about ages 44 to 62, and likely to be householders themselves, the percentage of families with a child had declined to 46 percent.

Among the factors that contributed to the decrease in the percentage of family households with children under 18:

• As adults live longer, a larger proportion of married couple households will be those who are older and either childless, or whose adult children live elsewhere. In 1968, 29 percent of married men were age 55 and over, as were 22 percent of married women. In 2008, 38 percent of married men were 55 and over, as were 33 percent of married women.

• Increases in childlessness — The percentage of women age 40 to 44 who were childless increased from 10 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2006.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Knowing Your Neighbors

Shortly after I moved into the neighborhood where I currently live, I made it a point to get to know my neighbors. I didn’t wait for anyone to come over with a welcome cake or some collard greens. As I learned from my own parents, knowing your neighbors is a good thing because you never know when you’re going to need help.

Last week, I needed help so I cashed in one of those “good neighbor” chips to my next door neighbor and fellow baby boomer Kathy.

For those of you who’ve ever had food poisoning, you know how terrible it can be. Needless to say, I was miserable and on top of that, I was very weak. I called Kathy and asked her for some crackers. In less than two minutes, she was at my door with my request. She had even volunteered to make me some soup.

Now, let’s just say I didn’t know Kathy but decided to call her anyway. The conversation would’ve gone something like this:

Bev: "Hello, Kathy?"

Kathy: "Yes, who is this?"

Bev: "Kathy, this is your next door neighbor Beverly."

Kathy: "Who?"

Bev: "Beverly."

Kathy: "OK, which house do you live in?"

Bev: "I’m in the yellow house."

Kathy: "Oh, OK. I'm surprised you have my number. What can I do for you?"

Bev: "Kathy, would you by chance have any crackers. I need something to put on my stomach with my soup."

Kathy: "No, I don’t have any crackers. All I have are Wheat Thins."

Bev: "Oh, OK (inaudible) I’ll take those."

Kathy: "Sorry I couldn’t help you. Hope you feel better." (hangs up)

Believe it or not, there are still many communities where people haven’t taken the time to get to know each other. I’m just thankful I don’t live in one of them.

Thanks Kathy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dogs and Cars

When I was a little girl, more than 40 years ago, I recall seeing dogs chase vehicles down the street. When I see that same scenario today, I don’t think much of it.

But when I see dogs sitting in their owner’s lap while the owner is trying to drive down the street or highway, I have to wonder: What in the world is wrong with this person?

On my way to Virginia this past weekend, I saw a number of dogs sitting in the laps of their owners while they were driving. Some dogs had their heads hanging out the window---while others were peering over or through the steering wheel as if they were helping to navigate the vehicle on the road.

What was even more disturbing is the people behind the wheel were baby boomers and older. I was trying to figure out what would possess someone, who needs to mindful of the road and conditions, to allow a dog to literally obstruct his and her view while driving down a busy highway.

Dogs are not meant for driving cars.

Maybe I’ve missed something but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a doggie seatbelt. Have you? As a matter of fact, I don’t think there’s a place for them inside a vehicle at all---unless they’re in a cage.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not an animal hater but I’m just trying to understand why drivers allow dogs to sit in their laps.

Oh, maybe I get it. It’s their “Guide Dog”. After all, some of us don’t see as good as we used to.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hey, I Like Your Baby Boomer Smile

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and what do people find most attractive in others? The smile. A national survey from the American Dental Association and Crest® and Oral B® finds that the smile outranked eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature.

Yet men and women differ when it comes to taking care of their teeth and gums. The nationally representative survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older found 86 percent of women brush their teeth twice or more a day, yet only 66 percent of men do so.

The survey also found that women say they change their toothbrush or power toothbrush head every 3-4 months on average, yet men hang on to theirs an average of 5 months. The ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes every 3-4 months or when the bristles become frayed since frayed and worn bristles decrease cleaning effectiveness.

Sadly, all Americans need to do a better job of flossing their teeth. Only half of those surveyed (49 percent) say they floss their teeth once a day or more often. And 1 out of 3 people surveyed think a little blood in the sink after brushing their teeth is normal, yet it’s not—it could signal gum disease or another health problem.

Oral health is an important part of overall health. Regular dental check-ups are important not only to diagnose and treat gum disease and tooth decay, but also because some diseases or medical conditions, such as oral cancer, have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

Growing research indicates there may be an association between oral health and serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, underscoring the importance of good oral hygiene habits.

Dental experts say brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly can help keep your smile healthy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Raising Children: Grandparent Style

I hear it all the time: “You don't look old enough to be a grandparent." As a 51-year-old baby boomer, I am among a growing trend of women who are not only wives and mothers---we are also grandmothers.

Gone are the days when you saw gray-haired women wearing their hair in buns and dresses near their ankles. We are no longer stay-at-home grandmothers relaxing in our rocking chairs. Today’s grandmothers are, more than likely, still in the workforce or entrepreneurs. They are probably also more likely to take an active role in their grandchildren's day-to-day lives.

There are an estimated 80 million grandparents in the U.S. today. By 2012, that number is expected to reach around 115 million. These grandparents essentially are taking on a second parenthood due to the fallout of their children’s divorces, financial problems or, increasingly, drug addictions.

Marketers are taking notice of these baby boomer grandparents. Retailers have begun targeting boomer grandparents, using pop hits from the 1950s and ’60s in commercials and reviving some of the old-fashioned toys like Etch-A-Sketch.

It’s working. A U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey predicted that grandparents spend nearly $30 billion a year on their grandchildren – but not just on toys.

• Nearly 20 percent of all travel involves grandchildren with grandparents, with or without the grandchildren's parents.
• Boomer grandparents want to leave a legacy, either of wealth, education or shared interests.
• Many of boomers' purchases are influenced by their grandchildren.

It is not all rosy though. Boomer grandparents are more likely than older generations to raise their grandchildren and, for the first time in many generations, grandparents are heading multiple-family households as their Generation X offspring suffer from foreclosures and distressed sales of homes and widespread layoffs.

And in my case, I'm taking on the role of Ma for my two-year-old grandson while his mother pursues her college education in another city.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Old Wives' Tales

A recent discussion about old wives' tales on one of the Networking Sites I frequent got me to thinking about all of those little life warnings my mother passed on to me as a child. I know now, as a baby boomer, that most of what she said isn't true, because most old wives' tales were used to discourage unwanted behavior.

But when you're growing up, mom's words are like the Bible and you didn't dare question them.

Here are some of the ones I remember:

If your nose is itching, someone is talking about you.

If you hand is itching, that means you are about to get money.

A cat will steal your baby’s breath if you let them near a newborn.

If you cross your eyes, they will get stuck.

If you hold a aspirin between your legs you wont get pregnant.

If you keep making an ugly face its going to stay that way.

Touching a toad will give you warts.

Drinking coffee will stunt your growth.

For African-Americans, drinking black coffee will make you darker.

Eating bread crust would make your hair curly

If a woman’s carrying low, it’s a boy; if she’s carrying high, it’s a girl.

A bat in the house is a sign of a death.

When you see a funeral procession go by, you have to make the sign of the cross or someone in your family will be next.

A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad sign

Step on a crack will break your mothers back.

Knock on wood so you don’t jinx youself.

If it rains on your wedding day, you'll cry plenty of tears throughout your marriage. Now that's the one I BELIEVE!

What about you? What can you add to this list?